With the clocks springing forward and the joy of longer, brighter days ahead, there couldn’t be a better time to take a look at your outdoor space.
Whether it’s digging around for the right tools to get you started, planting summer flowering bulbs or bringing out your hanging baskets, the long Easter weekend is the perfect opportunity to see how your garden grows.
Here are 12 ways to get your garden ready for spring:
1. Lawn treatment
Give your lawn a health check. If it's moss-ridden or full of weeds you may have to start again, turfing or seeding a new lawn. Feed the grass with lawn fertiliser - available at most garden centres – following the instructions carefully, and water it in.
If your lawn isn’t moss-ridden, first cut it, keeping the blades set high. If it's already long, cut it regularly, lowering the blades a little at a time so the length is reduced gradually.
2. Coming up roses
If you have a heavy soil, now is a good time to plant out roses. Mix in a good helping of well-rotted compost to give them the best start, and select an open, sunny position for the best display.
3. Rake it in
Scarify the lawn with a springtime rake to help oxygenation and remove thatch – dead grass that mats beneath growing grass – and moss. For larger lawns think about renting a petrol driven lawn scarifier to do the same job. If you have lots of moss, apply a moss killer and wait a few days before raking it up.
4. Ground rules
Aerate the lawn to improve drainage, driving a garden fork into the ground all over the lawn when it's moist, making holes to a depth of 10-15cm. Fill the holes with a mixture of sand and organic soil conditioner to keep the drainage open.
5. Weeding out trouble
“Weeds get really active in the spring, and, if left, spread rapidly and take over the lawn,” says James Wong, ethnobotanist, TV celebrity, and brand ambassador for Fiskars.
“It’s important to get the root out, but before you reach for toxic chemicals, consider an alternative and environmentally friendly option, such as the Fiskars Weed Puller.”
6. Get into shape
James says: “Out of shape evergreen shrubs and hedging will respond well to serious pruning in early or mid-spring. So, if your specimens are looking a little lacklustre, now is the time to get some loppers out. Once hard pruned, help promote spring growth with mulching and feeding.”
7. Square root
James says: “Instead of the traditional round hole, try planting trees in square ones. This may sound like a gimmick, but research shows that planting this way leads to much faster establishment and long-term health. And digging square holes also happens to be easier than perfectly round ones.”
8. Home-grown fruit
“If you are looking to grow your own fruit in the garden or allotments, then March is the latest time that bare-root fruit bushes and trees can be planted,” says Steve Guy, head of horticulture, Dobbies Garden Centres.
“Apples, pears and other fruit trees are easy to grow at home. If you’re pushed for space, look for a tree that’s trained into a shape for a compact area, or buy one that won’t grow too big.”
9. Quick fix
Steve says: “For a super-quick transformation for the area outside your backdoor, simply plant up a few pots and hanging baskets which will bring instant colour. Theme plants by colour for a display with impact, and include a mix of lush foliage, big blooms and delicate flowers.
"And use the chance to be creative – a hanging basket only lasts for a few months, and costs very little to create, so use the opportunity to experiment with plants and try something new.”
10. Spruce up the greenhouse
Give your greenhouse a good clean. Wash windows inside and out, clear out old compost and give greenhouse staging a good scrub to minimize the chance of garden pests surviving and thriving in a sheltered area.
“Brighten up your pots and containers with tête-à-tête, pansies, violas, primroses, cyclamen and spring heathers,” says Mark Sage, plant buyer (bedding), Wyevale Garden Centres.
“A stunning combination is tête-à-tête surrounded by pink and yellow primroses and variegated ivy - or try pansies densely packed for a striking display of colour.”
12. Flower seeds
Sage says: “Sow hardy annuals such as calendula, cornflower and annual poppies in drifts – clashing colours just don’t matter in a garden, but remember to plant taller plants behind shorter ones. Cut down perennials that have been left standing over winter, including grasses - even if they are still looking good.”
What are your hot gardening tips this time of year? Share them in the Comments section below.